John McVay (jmcvay@puc.edu) wrote:

>I wonder, David, if you and others are familiar with the reading of 2
>Timothy by Michael Prior (_Paul the Letter-Writer and the Second Letter to
>Timothy_, JSNTSup 23 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1989)).

>He conducts a study of _spendomai_ and _analusis_ (see esp. 91-112) and
>concludes that "there is no support, either among the Semites or Greeks
>for understanding the verb _spendomai_ to mean the offering of oneself in
>a bloody oblation" (94).  Instead, Paul ponders "pouring" himself "out"
>in further ministry.  "The whole tone of 4.9-21 suggests that Paul was
>preparing an apostolic team for further missionary activity" (111).

>Other aspects of Prior's argument are equally unusual.  Has anyone seen
>any reaction to Prior's book . . . or care to offer any?  How sound is his
>work on _spendomai_? 

     No I haven't seen the work you mention first hand.  

     But first of all, I would say that _spendomai_ is more probably a
passive than a middle.  So we would not have to establish that it means
"offering oneself in bloody oblation." Furthermore, there is ample evidence,
from both Semites and Greeks, that _spendw_ means "pour out a drink
offering."  Some data one finds on the word suggest that the meaning "pour
out as an offering" is mainly Pagan, but the Septuagint uses _spendw_ in this
sense in reference to drink offerings to God in the following verses: Gen.
35:14; Ex 25:28 (29); 30:9; 38:12 (37:16); Num. 4:7; 28:7; I Chron. 11:18;
Hos. 9:4.  In a couple of Greek works from the second century, _spendw_ is
used in reference to the spilling of blood in sacrifices of humans to
different gods (_TDNT_, s.v. _spendomai_, by Otto Michel, VII:530), and
Josephus uses _spendw_ in reference to the drink offering poured out in the
Jewish Temple cultus (Jos., Ant. III:234).  There is also a use of
_spondisQhnai_, a cognate verb to _spendw_, that Ingatius uses in his letter
to the Romans (2:2) in reference to his own impending martyrdom (Was he
influenced by Paul's usage in 2 Tim. 4:6?). 

     None of the several commentaries that I have at hand even mentions
Prior's point of view on 2 Tim. 4:6.  His interpretation might be possible in
Phil. 2:17, although it seems likely to me that even there, Paul had in mind,
with the word _spendomai_,  the possibility that the imprisonment he was in
at that time might end in his execution.

     On  2 Tim. 4:9-21, you mention Prior's view that "The whole tone . . .
suggests that Paul was preparing an apostolic team for further missionary
activity." But don't we, rather, see a man who is trying to muster any forces
he can, not only for his support while in prison and his defence at his
impending trial, but also to (logically) see that the work of the Gospel in
which he has labored continues forward no matter what happens to him.  It
seems to me that in v. 18 Paul is expressing his hope of salvation not in
terms of being freed from prison, but in terms of his entry into the Heavenly
Kingdom where even Nero's power would be unable to reach to harm him.

     You don't mention how _analusews_ (2 Tim.4:6) was interpreted, but BAGD
lists a whole bunch of references where the word is used figuratively for
departing this life.  John Calvin, commenting on this verse, points out that
_analusews_ expresses well the Christian view of death--not an absolute
perishing--but a dissolution of the union between soul and body for the
soul's departure to God, "a definition that contains a testimony of the
immortality of the soul (Calvin, _The Pastoral Epistles_, _ad loc._)."

David L. Moore